Before we go any farther, I think it important – if only for my own sanity – that everyone understands what “favorite” means in this context.
Normally, if I wrote something like “My favorite V1N1 cover”, you’d expect that if asked for further detail, I’d respond with something like out of all of the hundreds of SF&F magazines covers I’ve ever been exposed to, that particular one is regarded more highly than all of the others.
That’s not so in this context. What that title really means is that last night, or early this morning, I took a look at all of the V1N1 covers that haven’t yet been featured and chose “this” one for today. Then I stuck the label of “favorite” on it so everyone reading the headline would believe that it is something special. How’s that for transparency for ya?
All of these covers are “special” in some fashion or another of course. But I don’t want anyone leaving here to think that my tastes in art are so skewed that some of these depictions are actual personal favorites.
Anyway. On to today’s pick:
New Worlds, a UK publication from 1946.
New Worlds is one of the few magazines than can trace its history directly to an earlier Fanzine. Novae Terrae was an early British fanzine, begun in 1936 and produced by a fan named Maurice K. Hansen, who eventually turned it over to Ted Carnell, who would become an influential editor in the UK SF scene and would edit the professional editions of New Worlds for a number of years.
Novae Terrae (New Worlds) is in the FANAC Fan History collection of fanzine scans and you can find them here. You can also read the introduction in the first issue here – you may need glasses, so here’s the first paragraph:
“This issue is compiled and published by the members of chapter twenty-two of the Science Fiction League — the Nunneaton, England, Chapter — in the interest of Science Fiction in general, the Science Fiction League, and the chapter itself. We have called the journal “Novae Terrae” — New Worlds — and we think that this name is appropriate for a magazine devoted to science fiction where new worlds are being opened up a great deal of the time.”
Carnell changed the title from the Latin to New Worlds, but this was short-lived as a little thing called WWII intervened.
Following the war, Carnell resumed publication in 1946 as a professional paying market, which is represented by the cover you see here.
Well, not exactly.
You see, the first issue, with a different cover (see) sold poorly, while the second issue, the cover displayed above, sold very well, so Carnell had the covers stripped off of the remaining inventory of the first issue, and wrapped in a new cover without the date, issue number and story titles.
That’s the issue you are looking at. A “V1N12nd”, lol.
The two variants are shown below for comparison, as is the actual first cover (which I used to have in the collection but is one of 3 or 4 that went missing).
The magazine would have rough sailing through its run; Carnell was planning on shutting it down in 1963, but Michael Moorcock intervened, a new publisher was found and, based at least partially on his advocacy, Moorcock became the magazine’s editor (leading to the UK’s “New Wave”, as New Worlds championed that literary movement).
Later, Brian Aldiss (also associated with the “British New Wave”) obtained a grant from the Arts Council to help keep it going.
In the 70’s, Moorcock brought the magazine into the paperback anthology realm. There were also Canadian, US and New Zealand editions of the magazine at various times, and a brief attempt at a resurrection not too long ago.
New Worlds, along with Science Fantasy, are probably the two most influential UK-based SF magazines.
PS: I think its readily apparent why the first issue with its original cover “sold poorly”, while the second issue, depicting spaceships in space, did much better.
A few other historical tidbits: the magazine suffered when book chains refused to carry it because of obscene language – largely related to its publication of Spinrad’s Bug Jack Baron.
The publisher in 1949 was a collective formed by several authors, including John Wyndham.
The paperback version was introduced as “New Worlds Quarterly”
Two issues were produced in 2014 under the title “Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds”, but “owing to “massive lack of interest” this incarnation – allowed by though never in fact seen by Moorcock himself – had ceased.”
(Perhaps what we really need is: “Amazing New Weird Worlds Tales & Stories” magazine….”.)